Fisherman’s tales are beginning to go the way of the dodo, as cellphone cameras have begun producing pictures so crystal clear that most stories can be verified by pictures.
Jacob Moore, a fisherman who competes in local bass fishing tournaments, hauled in the most interesting catch of the day in James River in central Virginia. In a press release from the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources, Moore’s spectacular catch was discussed in better detail. Moore said:
“I was out there practicing for a tournament, catching a bunch of fish. I was on the lower James near Chippokes. When I hooked into that one, I thought I had a saltwater fish on at first, but lo and behold, it was a largemouth! A very different largemouth, though. I haven’t seen anything like that before. I’ve seen bass with black spots, but I’d never seen an albino one.”
Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources Aquatic Education Coordinator Alex McCrickard said that this golden variation of largemouth bass is incredibly rare, to the point that even some fish enthusiasts may not be aware of their existence:
“Golden largemouth bass are extremely rare and most anglers have never seen them, let alone heard of them before. The fish is a product of a genetic mutation that alters the skin pigments called xanthism. Yellow pigmentation dominates in xanthism, as you can see in Moore’s golden largemouth.”
Following a quick photo session with the fish, Moore returns the 16 1/2-inch bass back to the river. According to Virginia’s DWR, this bass was not large enough to be kept even had Moore wanted to do so:
Largemouth bass must be a minimum of 22″ to be a length citation and 8 pounds to be a weight citation.
Back in 2021, another angler named Josh Rogers caught a similar-looking fish. Biologist Jon Stein chimed in at the time to note how striking rare a golden bass catch really is, saying, according to Newsweek:
“This is very rare and does occur naturally. Josh needs to buy a lottery ticket because he caught one fish in a million.”
Rogers didn’t seem to realize himself just how rare the fish was when he caught it. He said:
“I didn’t think anything about it for an hour and a half of fishing, then I started sending pictures to friends and putting it on Instagram and Facebook.
“From the reaction of everybody, I started thinking, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t have thrown it back.’ I was surprised it caused such a reaction from people.”
He told the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission what his thoughts were upon seeing the fish for the first time:
“I had two thoughts when I caught it. The midlake area on down is uncharacteristically muddy now, and I know that bass get light-colored when they are in the mud. But when I looked at the mouth and gills, I wondered if he was sick. My buddy I was fishing with said, ‘Surely it’s not something he’s eating that would turn him that color.’”
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